More and more foreigners are currently choosing Vietnam as an ideal place to live and work and especially, the Lunar New Year Festival (Tet) is a special opportunity for them to gain a deeper understanding of the country’s fine customs and traditions.
In interviews granted to VOV, foreigners have expressed their different feelings and impressions of Tet in Vietnam.
Gunjan Punia from India, who has been living in Vietnam for three years, said she and her family are eagerly looking forward to Tet.
“It’s a time of celebration, festivities, and markets filled with flowers, cakes and lights. A time of excitement, happiness, and celebration for the complete family,” she said.
Gunjan added that all pre-Tet gift giving and dinners have already commenced and she relished the discounted sales that are available in the markets during this time.
“The markets are crowded with people buying gifts and eating in restaurants. The traffic is on the rise during the evenings.We really enjoy the typical Tet food that is served to us during this time. The Chung cake is really awesome. This festival reminds us of the Diwali celebrations that we celebrate back home,” she said.
While, most of the foreigners staying in Vietnam tend to leave the country during these holidays, Gunjan and her family have always stayed in Vietnam during Tet and enjoyed every moment of it.
“The unique thing about Hanoi is that while the roads are full with traffic before Tet, over the holiday period most of the city remains closed as locals prefer to go to their provincial homes. My best wishes to all my Vietnamese friends on the occasion of Tet 2018 and I look forward to celebrating with you all,” she said.
Meanwhile, Reuben Taylor, who works as a proof-reader at VOVnews, shared that one of the most wonderful sights he’s seen in the run up to Tet is the trade in beautiful flower displays and plants at the Quang Ba flower market, with people carrying bundles of peach blossoms and mandarin trees on the backs of their bikes weaving in and out of busy traffic on Yen Phu.
He also likes wandering along Hang Ma Street in the Old Quarter to look around the stunning scenes of shops selling hundreds of brightly coloured lanterns and Tet decorations.
“What impresses me most is that there is an effort to include everyone in the celebrations, with care and attention paid to those who have less than others. Walking around and seeing flower beds spring into life and young chickens scuttle across the street, there is a real feeling of growth and renewal around the city,” he said.
Reuben shared that he and his girlfriend will be travelling to Penang, Malaysia for a few days.
“However, in the lead up to the New Year I will be trying to see and learn about all of the wonderful traditions and ways of celebrating for different people in Hanoi and in other parts of Vietnam, and try some of the different types of Banh Chung too!” he added.
Guy Wilson from the UK spoke with a VOV reporter at a coffee shop in Hanoi, “I just cannot express how grateful I am to have a Vietnamese girlfriend. The decision of moving here and settling down as an English teacher is considered to be the most meaningful milestone of my life. Because I could stand a chance to witness the traditions and rituals related to this important fete in Vietnam: ancestor worship, praying at the temples and pagodas, giving out lucky money to the younger generations and so many more.”
As a foreigner, Guy said all those things surprise him in a fantastic way because he has never experienced the same things in his home country.
“I am genuinely in awe of the super culinary culture, the enthusiastic locals as well as the cozy yet fresh atmosphere of Vietnam that emerges, during Tet holiday in particular,” he noted.
A Chinese girl, Linda Boi, brightened up as she was asked about how she felt about Tet in Vietnam.
tet a special time for foreigners too hinh 3
“I moved to Vietnam last November so this will be my very first time enjoying Tet holiday. I’m so excited to experience the traditional celebration of the Lunar New Year with the locals here in Hanoi.”
Linda said she will be outside with her colleagues on New Year’s Eve to watch the fireworks show.
“Not sure about plans after that though. Can’t wait to have some Banh Chung! I’ll be working in Vietnam for 3 years so hopefully next time I will have some more interesting stories about my Tet to tell you,” she said.
“Happy New Year, Vietnam!” Linda said excitedly, “I wish you all the best of luck and may the upcoming Year of the Dog bring peace and prosperity to all.”
By Tu Tu